Runner's knee is a fairly common injury among runners. However, this injury can also affect individuals who overuse their knees through cycling, jumping, or even walking. These injuries start with pain when doing simple physical things like walking up and down stairs and can get worse if left untreated. General treatment, including resting and applying ice to the affected area can help with minor injuries, but more severe injuries require therapy and surgery. If you want to heal your knee on your own or with the help of a therapist, start with Step 1 below.
Part 1 of 4: Doing Your Own Care
Step 1. Start "PRICE" therapy with "protection"
Runner's knee can be treated at home by doing PRICE therapy – Protection (protection) Rest (rest), Immobilization (not moving the injured area), Compression (compress) and Elevation (lifting the injured body part).
Step 2. People who suffer from this injury are advised to avoid contact with high temperatures such as hot baths, saunas and hot compresses because they can dilate blood vessels which can increase the risk of bleeding
Extreme activities that put too much pressure on the injured area, such as those that can occur during massage, should also be avoided so as not to aggravate the injury
Step 3. Rest your feet
Patients are advised to give the feet time to rest so that the natural healing process can take place. The longer you rest your feet, the better your feet will feel and the faster the recovery process will take place.
- The only movements you should be allowed to do, at least initially, are exercises that have been approved by your doctor or therapist.
- Using crutches or crutches is very helpful to support your body so that the pressure on the knee can be removed and the knee will heal.
Step 4. Don't move your knees
The injured area must be kept stable to prevent further injury to the area and surrounding tissues. This can be done by placing a splint and bandage around the injured area.
Again, try consulting your doctor. He or she may suggest something as simple as KT Tape or splints. When you meet with your doctor, you can discuss your exercise plan as well
Step 5. Use a compress
Cold compresses can be placed on the injured area to shrink the blood vessels, thereby reducing the risk of bleeding and swelling. It is most helpful if done in the first few hours after the injury occurs.
- You should apply an ice pack for 20 to 30 minutes every 3 to 4 hours for 2 to 3 days or until the pain is gone. Use a bag filled with ice or ice covered by a towel as this ice pack.
- Compression also helps stimulate the flow of lymph fluid, which carries essential nutrients to the damaged tissues around the injured area. Lymph fluid also removes waste from cells and body tissues which is very important in the process of tissue regeneration.
Step 6. Lift your knees
The injured part must be lifted continuously. This helps blood circulation properly so that the healing process can take place more quickly. With reduced blood flow, there is less swelling so your knee can return to proper function quickly.
Sitting or lying down is allowed, but make sure when you sit, your knees are above your hips. You can put some pillows under your knees
Part 2 of 4: Undergoing Medical Treatment
Step 1. Take medication
When you see a doctor, it's usually the first thing to discuss the most obvious symptoms: pain and inflammation. Your doctor will therefore prescribe medications to reduce pain and inflammation, but you can also buy medications that don't require a prescription.
- There are several types of painkillers such as regular painkillers – you can buy over-the-counter painkillers like Paracetamol – and stronger painkillers that you can only buy with a prescription if the usual painkillers don't work anymore. Examples of prescription painkillers are codeine and tramadol.
- Stronger painkillers must be taken properly according to the recommended dosage to avoid addiction and dependence.
Step 2. Try taking an NSAID or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug
This is a type of drug that acts on certain body chemicals to prevent further inflammation. Examples of these drugs are Ibuprofen, Aspirin, and Naproxen. Stronger NSAIDs can be purchased with a prescription.
However, health practitioners do not recommend taking this drug within the first 48 hours so that the body can recover naturally first
Step 3. Do physical therapy
This is done by doing certain exercises with a therapist which can also help strengthen the knee and temporarily support your knee activity.
People with this injury are advised to try certain exercises that can help in strengthening the patella (kneecap) and maintaining its normal function. These exercises can be done to divert pain sensations and regulate good blood circulation to different parts of the body including the affected parts. These specific exercises will be discussed in more detail in the next section
Step 4. If all this doesn't work, try considering the surgery options
The surgical procedure is suggested by the doctor if other means fail. Surgery is performed by an expert to reconnect and restore the affected patellar tissue and restore its optimal strength.
Arthroscopic surgery is performed using an arthroscope, an instrument that makes small incisions in the knee joint and has a camera to show the inside of the knee so it can be repaired. This surgery uses a razor blade or small scissors to remove the tissue causing the damage to the skin
Part 3 of 4: Using Physical Therapy
Step 1. Perform a passive knee extension
You may not be able to fully stretch your leg because of the pain from runner's knee. This exercise will help you stretch your legs. Here's how to do it:
- Roll up a towel and place it under your heels to lift them off the floor and allow gravity to strengthen your knees. You may feel uncomfortable, but try to relax your feet.
- Hold the position for 2 minutes and repeat 3 times in one session. Do this exercise several times a day.
Step 2. Do the heel launching exercise
This knee strengthening exercise can be painful so you should do it carefully and with direction. Here's how to do this exercise:
- Sit on the floor with your legs stretched out in front of you. Then slowly pull the heel of the injured leg to the side of the buttocks so that the knee is close to your chest.
- After performing this step, return to the starting position. Do 2 sets of 15 reps in each session.
Step 3. Perform calf stretches while standing
Stand facing a wall with your hands on the wall at eye level. Place the injured foot back with the heel on the floor and the other foot in front of you with the knee bent. Turn the heel of the injured foot slightly inward so the toes are slightly facing out. So that you can feel the stretch:
- Slowly lean against the wall. If you feel like your calves are being pulled, you are in the right position.
- Hold the position for 15-30 seconds and return to the starting position.
- Repeat 3 times in 1 session. You can repeat it several times a day.
Step 4. Perform hamstring stretches against the wall
First of all, find a threshold for doing this exercise. The doorway provides stability and takes pressure off the arms and legs. Here's how to do it:
- Lie on the floor and stretch your uninjured leg over the threshold.
- Lift your injured leg against the wall next to the doorway.
- Let your legs stretch. You are in the right position if you feel a stretch in the back of your thigh.
- Hold the position for 15 to 30 seconds and repeat 3 times in the session.
Step 5. Perform the straight leg lifting exercise
Lie down with your back pressed down and your legs straight out in front of you. Bend your uninjured leg with the heel on the floor. Tighten your injured leg and lift it about 20.3 cm above the floor.
Keeping your legs straight and your thigh muscles contracted then slowly return to the starting position. Do 2 sets of 15 reps in each session
Step 6. Do different squat exercises
There are two types of squats that are suitable for runner's knee: the prisoner squat and the Bulgarian split squat. Here's how to do it:
For prisoner squats:
- Stand with feet apart.
- Place your fingers on the back of your head and puff out your chest.
- Slowly move your body down as far as possible while both knees are bent and hips pushed back.
- Hold this position and then slowly return to the starting position.
For Bulgarian split squats:
- Position the left foot in front of the right foot about 0.6 to 0.9 cm.
- Place the tip of your right foot against a chair or other object that can support it.
- Then pull your shoulders back and puff out your chest.
- Slowly lower your body as far as you can and keep the position.
- Stop then return to the starting position.
Part 4 of 4: Understanding Runner's Knee
Step 1. Find out the cause of runner's knee
This condition can be caused by several factors such as the following:
Excessive use. Too much bending of the knee can traumatize the nerve endings of the kneecap. Overstretching of the tissue that connects muscles to bones (tendons) can also cause this injury.
Fall or crash. A blow to the knee can irritate the surrounding tissue and cause this injury to occur.
Wrong position. There are cases where some parts of the body are not in a good position, often due to trauma or injury. These things put greater pressure on the part in question because the body's weight is not spread evenly. This causes pain and damage to these joints.
- Foot problems. The condition known as flat feet causes the arch of the foot to fall, lengthening the muscles and tendons of the foot. This can cause runner's knee.
- Weak thigh muscles. Weakness or imbalance in these muscles can cause the knee to carry too much weight beyond its capacity and cause runner's knee to develop.
Step 2. Know the risk factors
Some types of people are more prone to suffer from runner's knee. Here are some things to watch out for to avoid this injury:
Physical activity. Activities such as running and jumping or activities that require repeated bending of the knee can cause overuse of the knee. This irritates the nerves in the knee and can affect the tendon and cause pain. Before engaging in any strenuous physical activity, make sure you warm up and stretch well to avoid injury.
Gender. Women are more at risk of developing runner's knee than men because of the different bone structures. Women have wider hips which can contribute to this injury.
- Incorrect bone position. Bones are part of the balance of the body. Must have the right position so that body weight can be distributed evenly.
- Constant overuse of the knee. This can cause continuous pressure so that the knee becomes tired. Knees are very involved in most of the activities we do.
- Foot problems. Flat feet is a condition where the soles of the feet are flat on the floor when treading. This condition is common in infants and toddlers. People with this type of foot when stepping on the foot, the muscles and tendons connected to the knee become stretched, causing runner's knee.
Step 3. Know the symptoms of runner's knee
Individuals affected by this condition may experience one or more of the following signs and symptoms:
Pain. Pain can arise due to damage to the cartilage under the kneecap area. The pain is sharp and throbbing and is usually felt behind or around the kneecap where the thighbone and kneecap meet. It feels very pronounced when squatting, running, walking and even when sitting. The level of pain will be even higher if you don't limit your activities.
Swelling. Trauma or irritation can cause inflammation of the knee and surrounding tissue because this is the body's mechanism for dealing with injury. The body's immune system will release inflammatory substances to get rid of harmful stimulants including damaged cells, or pathogens and then start the recovery process.
A popping or crackling sensation. If the muscles are not properly prepared before starting the activity, this can put pressure on the knees and cause them to tremble. This can strain the muscles, causing a sensation of something popping up, especially when making sudden knee movements.
- Runner's knee can be cured with self-administration as long as it's not severe. Severe cases should be treated by a doctor to prevent this problem from becoming a lifelong problem.
- Wear a protector or you can attach special tape to the body to support and protect the knee from other injuries. It can also help improve the position of your knee joint.